Mrs JR Briggs took her miniature Dachshund for her annual booster each year with no problems until she was four years old. The dog was vaccinated in the morning and by late afternoon she was rubbing her face on the carpet. She was very hot, and her face was swollen. Mrs Briggs took the dog back to the vet who gave her an injection and said that she had been stung by a wasp. "I was not convinced," says Mrs Briggs, "and asked him if it could have been the vaccination. He said no."
Mrs Briggs chanced the booster again the next year, explaining to the vet what had happened the year before. By the afternoon the same symptoms repeated themselves. Bonnie was rushed back to the veterinary surgery, where the vet agreed this time that it must have been the annual booster." In fact, Bonnie had a hypersensitivity reaction to the booster which, if left untreated, may well have killed her.
Mr and Mrs M Roberts' beautiful cocker spaniel died one week after having his booster injection. He was boosted on the Friday, and became ill on the Monday evening. He was taken to the vet on Tuesday morning, and the vet told the couple that the dog had a very high temperature and a swollen spleen. A blood test was taken, revealing that his blood count was very low and that the red blood cells were breaking up. The vet administered steroids.
Mr and Mrs Roberts say that the dog deteriorated very rapidly from here, and the vet suggested a blood transfusion on Thursday, bringing his own dog into the surgery to donate the blood. However, the vet advised that the transfusion would only give the cocker a few days longer, and a match donor would need to be found to give the dog a better chance. Mrs Roberts says that her dog was in a very poor state at this stage, and the couple agreed that it would be kinder to have him put down. Although it was a terrible decision to have to make, they didn't want to see him suffer any more.
The dog was seven years old. He was diagnosed by the vet as having haemolytic anaemia. The couple suggested that the booster might have caused the condition, but the vet flatly denied this.
The Merck Veterinary Manual confirms that modified live parvovirus vaccines are suspected to cause autoimmune haemolytic anaemia in dogs. The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (September-October 1996) carried a paper that "strongly supports that vaccination can trigger immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia in dogs . . . and vaccine associated IMHA has been reported after DPT vaccination in children".
Mrs P Ariss owned a lively Westie puppy who suffered from 'Westie Disease', a jaw disease treated with steroids. At 15 months, the bitch had her first booster injection and for three days was very quiet and lethargic. On the fourth day, Mr Ariss found the dog dead in the kitchen. A post-mortem revealed a heart attack.
Vets are advised not to vaccinate unhealthy dogs, or dogs receiving steroids. However, they are vaccinating these dogs as a matter of course.
If a vet calls you an irresponsible dog owner when you suggest that your unhealthy dog should not be vaccinated, be strong and follow your own conscience.
extracts from ‘What vets Don’t Tell You About Vaccines' by Catherine O'Driscoll